Monday, June 29, 2009

Why I Hound and Stockpile

Many of my friends who do not frequent this blog are curious as to why I hound, and why I take out so much of my precious time finding deals. I don't think they realize how simple it really is to do, and how many great friends I've made in the process.

When DH and I first moved in together (a year before we got married), we were in over our heads, literally. We didn't want to touch any of our savings $$ so we financed the condo 100%. Okay so in hindsight, bad move, however, since we didn't put the 20% down, we still have money in our savings. If we did put down that money, as of right now, we'd be out of the money b/c of the housing market. We did the 30 year fixed, so it's all good, no major interest rate increases! In the beginning, it was tough, going from living rent free, with NO bills to having a mortgage and so many 'house' bills. I cried myself to sleep every night wondering how we'd keep afloat. I did find out that this is quite normal, thank goodness!

It didn't dawn on me until after our wedding that we needed to cut back on spending. We were over $50k in debt between the two of us (credit cards, cars, student loans, etc.). It wasn't until about December of 2007 that I found the Women in Red Racers after reading an article in some magazine. I checked it out and it has been so useful! After being a 'racer' for a year and a half, we went from about 50k worth of debt to 20k worth of debt!

In that chatroom, I found the Grocery Challenge. These women are amazing. I was a little hestitant to join b/c when I looked on that thread, there was over 1000 pages! I figured I'd never catch up, but when I started to read the newest pages, they talked about that week's deals, different scenarios, bad and or good experiences, etc. We even talk about personal stuff b/c as I've found out the hard way, on the outside threads, those people can be nasty, but not the hounds!

Basically, we give each other ideas, etc and we swap coupons. It really is great! I go to the store every Sunday and buy 5 or more newspapers (depending on how good the coupons are!) and during the week, I clip away. I keep what I need and send out what I don't want.

I joined the hounds back in October and that's when I started really watching where my $$ goes with the grocery money. I have a set budget for each week for my groceries, and I haven't used it all in months! I also have a system of tracking how much the items are after savings and coupons, and after a few trips, I take the savings that I saved and I put them into an ING account. After a year (this October) I will tally it all up and that will in turn become our 'vacation' fund. As of right now, I have over 2k. My goal is to have 3k in there before October. We'll be taking our vacation in January, not sure where yet, but hopefully that will cover the vacation!

It's really fun going to the stores with my coupon binder and people always stop me to look at it. I used to do the accordian file thing, but once I become a 'hound' I had too many coupons! The binder is great for those that are visual type people and it's also great for those that are organized. I love when the older women stop me in the store and chat with me for awhile. I know most of them probably don't have many people to talk to, so I let them chat away with me. They think it's so great that such a young lady like myself takes the time out of my life to do it. I call my coupon binder my 'boyfriend'. My brother in law teases my DH that since he gets home so late (after 8pm) and I'm home early each day (4:30pm) that I have a guy come over to keep me company. Yea right! His name is coupon binder! DH will text me how I'm doing at night, and I'll text back that I'm having a grand old time with Q on the living room floor (where I cut my Q's). Tooo funny.

My parents joke with me that I'm like my grandfather, he was a tight rear end they say. He would give my grandmother a shopping list and coupons and money to the penny and she would grocery shop while he waited in the car. She was never allowed to go off the list or she'd be in trouble. He was like that in other aspects of life, and my parents see that in me.

I made a vow to DH that we would never go hungry. I would also have a stock of food and snacks on hand at any given moment. And so far, it's working out. AND, I'm saving money in the process, which is great!

In this economy, people need to take some time out of their hectic lives and focus on ways to improve their money situation. It doesn't take a lot of time to do this, it really doesn't. We all help each other out, and their are some great websites that I use to help out (hotcouponworld, couponmom, thegrocerygame) etc. that are great tools!

I'm hoping to get my personal grocery shopping business together, but I love doing this!

I'll be updating my blog more about my grocery outings and such since so many people have asked about it. I'll also be posting pics and what not about Mr. Q (Coupon binder).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Poker Tournament V (5) at Showboat on June 20, 2009

I really wanted to play this tournament. I know the week prior I mentioned possibly taking a break from tourney play. Hubby Mike thinks there is too much luck and not enough skill involved to really make it in tourneys, which is why he plays cash, no more tournaments.

He was set to play golf for a kid's bachelor party that day, however, with the rain expected, he decided not to go...which was good b/c they played anyways (in the rain, something Hubby Mike hates to do) and they even got kicked off the course when the best man crashed into other golf carts, trees, etc. So it was good he didn't go.

The night before, we debated on what to do. He didn't want me to play the tourney, saying I've been running bad after I won some $$ in the Ladies event back in Sept. That was my last cash in the tourney circuits. I just really wanted to play. Maybe I needed to get out of Borgata or something, who knows. I told him it was only $250 buy in, so why not? My sister was in the midst of buying a Volvo, and I'm like 'If they can buy a brand new car, we can sure afford a $250 buy in' LOL. So after much debate the night before, I convinced him that instead of sleeping in and going down in the afternoon, we'll wake up early and BOTH play the tourney.

We got up and I wanted to be on the road (Parkway) by 8:30. Didn't happen, we left at 8:30 but had to get gas and he wanted McD's breakfast. He NEVER wants that when we're up early on weekends and I suggest getting it....but when I don't eat b4 tourneys, he decides to get it...figures. So we got on the Parkway a little after 9am. It wasn't too bad, he drove so it took longer then if I had driven. We hit some downpour rain right before our exit so people naturally slam on the brakes and forget how to drive. We finally got to Showboat at around 10:30 and I had to use the facilities big time. We got inside and for some reason, I thought the Ballroom was up the escalator in the lobby....we were so close to the ballroom too (which is just PAST the lobby). We got upstairs and realized we were in the wrong place. I went to the bathroom by the old poker room then we went down the other escalator by the boardwalk side. As we were going down the escalator at about 1045, Hubby Mike saw the line...I didn't at first, then saw went from the HOB area all the way out to the alleyway in the casino....YIKES.

We got in line and more people proceeded to get in line behind us...which was good that we weren't the last ones in line. We waited a good 1.5 hours in line before getting to the cashier. They took 500 ppl and 50 alternates (550). I was alternate it close! We went to the ballroom and we were both seated immediately. It's in this big open ballroom type (very dark). The first half is empty, then the second half had all the tables. It was very cramped and the girl taking me to my seat and I both had a hard time getting in to my table and we're both small girls too. I prayed I didn't have to go pee again b/c there was no way I was able to get up and out. When I sat down, the girl took a few hunge of chips off my stack, which I thought was weird. yes, I was an alternate, but I don't think they should have taken chips off my stack. Since the game is already in play, some ppl have less in chips and others have more then the starting stack, so why should I be at a disadvantage coming in fresh? At Harrahs, I played a tourney and was an alternate, but I started w/ the 10k in starting chips. I benefited b/c I was sitting down to the BB so she didn't take too much off (300) I think, but she said she wouldn't take the rest since I was going to be BB. Hubby Mike had about 700 in chips taken off his stack, AND was also seated to be BB.

I got to see about 3-4 hands before the break. The hand right before the break, I look at pocket nines, and one limper. I raise, SB and BB folds, limper calls. As he does, the lady announces 'Congratulations everyone, you have made it to the first break!' I think "oh boy....this could end ugly' lol. The flop is King 7 8 rainbow. Guy checks to me, I bet out 1000. He quickly calls. 'gulp' I think. Turn is like a four or a two, I don't recall. He checks again, I bet out 2000. He quickly calls. Now I'm thinking 'YAY, I'm gonna be out by the break!' River is a 9. I didn't have any 1000 chips left, so I threw out a grey 5000 chip and announce 3k. The guy was at the other end of the table, he didn't hear me and he was like '5k, I call' and I'm like 'no it was 3k' He's like 'Oh okay'. I was kinda hoping he raised me b/c I put him on ace king and trying to trap me. I flip over my set, and he's like 'Damn it!' and flips over queens. WOW! he called me the entire way with queens w/ a king on the flop. I was then up to about 17.5k in chips on the break.

When we came back from break, he was still fuming and telling the others around him who had left the table for break when the hand was in play still what happened. hey I didn't do anything wrong, I thought...he checked, so I bet....yes I got lucky on the river, but didn't he put me on a king at least? Oh well. Told him I never get lucky like that on the river.

I didn't play too many hands after that...I did win a few uncontested pre flop raises, etc, but nothing too big. Hubby Mike got knocked out after about an hour of play. He was in a hand and had pocket kings and announced raise and threw out a 1000 chip, but nobody heard him. So a lot of low cards came out and ppl hit two pair and showed when he folded his kings face up after a bet and a raise before him. He got kings again and got sucked out on,but hey, it happens. He sat around to watch me play and I got involved in a huge hand with Ace King. A few limpers, and I raised to about 3k preflop (blinds were getting up there). I had about 4 callers. Yikes. All low cards on the flop, 2 diamonds. Check around to me, i bet, they all call. Another diamond on the turn. Guy to my right bets out. hmmmmm, I know I have the ace of diamonds under there, but was the king one too? I know it was I check my was a heart...dag nab it! He had bet out about 5k. Great...I have 11k left. Ugh ugh ugh. So I have 2 overs and if another diamonds comes out, jackpot for me. So I push all in for another 6 k, he immediately calls. River is a blank and my heart sinks (it happened so quickly that we didn't even flip over our cards yet.) He flips over king queen....two red...but wait, the queen is a heart! I flip over my ace high and win (he thought his king high flush draw was good!). So I took down a HUGE pot with ace high! Wow! So I tell the table that I knew the ace was a diamond and the king was red, but I wasn't sure if it was a diamond (BS, I knew the king was a heart, but I had to justify myself).

We broke up that table and i moved. I ran into some friends along the way, which was nice. The next table I had one guy from my first table who was Mr. Rule guy. He was annoying. He got knocked out pretty early on into that that second table. I was gaining on chips and happy. I had close to 100k when I get dealt pocket kings (YIPPEE!) another woman at the table raised to 30k, I look down at my beautiful kings. I push all in for 93k, so it's another 63k for her to call. She thinks for awhile, counting out the chips, then counting what she would have left over if she calls. She'd have about 10k left in chips if she calls and loses. I know at this point I had her beat right there, so I felt pretty good. She finally calls saying she's pot committed (no she's not) with queen ten suited spades. Ugh, I got such a BAD feeling about this hand. Flop is low cards, 2 spades. You have GOT to be kidding me! Turn is a queen, giving her yet more outs. River is black king. BUT, I had the king of spades, so the king of clubs came out....YIPPEE for me! So all them chips come my way. I then tell her 'Queen ten you called me with?????" She's like 'yea, I was pot committed' 'No you weren't....but queen ten girl? please' She was knocked out the next hand or the hand after that.

There was one guy at my table who was new to tournaments, but kept getting lucky as anything. He took out mm with ace 6 went all in w/ queens and he called with ace six....saying he didn't know how mm played and put him on king queen when he shoved. Okay, he contradicted himself...if you don't know how he plays, how can you put him on any hand? duh. He was out a few hands later....good riddance.

Soon after, we were in the money. We started with 550 ppl and we were in the money very quickly. This type of tournament would last two days at Borgata. The blinds went up quickly here. At my last break, I had just over 200k in chips. I went to the remaining tables to check around and it looked like I could be the chipleader...if anything, maybe 3rd or so. So I went on break happy as a bee. I think it got to my head b/c I was out before the next break The blinds were getting high, as were the antes. I figured I could sit back for awhile, which was wrong. I wasn't getting dealt anything and every hand was an all in fest, so I had to sit back and take a backseat. I was in the BB when the blinds were 20-40k and i had another 20k after my BB. One guy limped, SB went all in as well (he had more chips then me) and I threw out my last 20k without even looking. Limper had 10 4 suited and I forgot what the other guy hand...I had king 10, so I went in w/ the best hand....limper won with trip 4s, so he knocked two of us out. I came in 22nd, which was a coincidence as I was the 22nd alternate. I got 587.36 for my efforts.

All in all, I enjoyed this tourney. The only hand I lost the entire day was that last one, which knocked me out of the tourney. I really felt it was my day to take this one day, and I tasted the 33k first prize. But to no avail, it didn't happen, but I enjoyed every minute of it, and can't wait for the next one!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Borgata Summer Open Ladies Event June 14, 2009

Well, I didn't get the chance to do a shout out to the bloggers, although I did talk to one quite a bit. I wanted to warm up to him before asking to be put on the blog. The guy last year (Johnny Walker) was cool and put me on there. He probably got in trouble b/c they were told specifically that they cannot blog about the ladies event, just to post the blinds going up and any 'famous' ppl playing (hmmmm, I'm not famous yet? Bull!!! lol). I didn't want to get him in trouble, but they did blog an awful lot about the ladies event.

So, we arrived early, as usual. I wasn't feeling it from the get go. I almost opted not to play, but since we were there for that, I did it. Maybe b/c I didn't get a good nights' sleep or I had breakfast first, no idea, but i wasn't feeling it and played my D game. yup, my B and C game didn't even show up.

The first round, there was one girl who was in EVERY hand. Ton of action too. We started with 10k in chips with blinds at 25 50. Second hand in, 1k chips were being thrown into the Aggressive girl lost a big hand in the first round and second round, but held her own. Won a ton back when a girl who knows her stuff raised pre flop with ace king suited. King on the flop and raggy cards out there. Betting and raising left and right. Huge bet on the river. Now there was an 8 on the flop and another on the river with all rags other then the king. Aggressive girl had 5 8 raiser had ace king....5 8 boated on the riv. OUCH!

I wasn't really getting cards, so I played tight, very tight. Limping with ace jack, ace queen, pocket nines and nothing on the flop, so I would end up folding to a bet. See, my D game. Couldn't get off it. Had queens, girl makes it 450 pf, I call. 2 or 3 other callers. Flop is 6 2 2. I bet 1500, pf raiser goes all in for an additional 1200, I call...she has kings...ugh. no queen...all well. I was down to less then 5k during this hand. I slowly made my way about up to almost 9k in the next round by getting good hands and ppl folding to nothing on the flop. I also bluffed quite a lot as well. I hardly do that, but it was working for me.

Another good hand at the table was aces v aces....the one girl almost won...on the turn, 3 spades....river was a blank, so they split.

On to my demise. It was either the 5th or 6th round and I get 8 9 off in the big blind. Girl raises to 650, so it's only a little over a min raise. So I call. Flop gives me an open ended straight draw (4 6 7). I'm putting her on either an big over pair (kings or aces) or a big ace like ace king (esp due to the small size of the raise pf.). She continue bets, I insta call. I always seem to get in trouble chasing, but I kept seeing ppl catch left and right, so I thought it was my turn. Turn is a queen. I think, then check, hoping that since I've been playing tight, since I called the pf raise and insta called the flop, that she put me on a big hand here. I'm hoping for the free river card...she bets out 1700. Ugh. ugh. I call. River is a 3 of hearts....I grab a bunch of high chips, and throw out 3k. She is like 'Did I just get rivered TWICE in 3 hands???' She thought for awhile. Alls I needed was a 5 in my hand to have a straight. Now I think she's holding ace queen or something. She def put me on a hand....after awhile she called...'Nice call I say' She flips over trip sevens...ouch! Everyone at the table said that we both played it well and said I made a great play on the riv. My friend happened to be standing by me and saw, and apologized but said it was an awesome play. he thought i had nuts on that hand....I wanted her to think so too, but trip!!

So the next hand I am in the small and get four five...I'm just so aggravated that I push all in...two callers...they check it down. Nothing...I did hit a five, but the other girl hit a jack....ah well. I was the first one at my table to bust out....yay. I checked online this morning, I don't think anyone at my table cashed, but my friend took 8th! not too shabby!

I was so upset that I busted out that I made Hubby Mike cash out at the cash game. I don't know why, but I didn't even want to be at the Borgata...I felt so embarrassed....I guess b/c I got my hand caught in the cookie jar. Anyone else ever feel that way?

so we walk around and found an open let it ride 3 card bonus table. nobody is there, so Hubby Mike and I sit down and play. As soon as we do, the table fills up. We played for awhile, and I was on my last hand since I was down about 100. I look at an ace and I tell Hubby Mike 'Should I put it down?" (in 3 card,if I see an ace first, I play it, no matter what). So I look at the second card, another ace. I put it down. I stay the entire way....when it comes to me...3 aces! YAY! So i made my money back plus over 100, so that was good. Cashed out, grabbed some dinner, then went home EARLY....around 7pm...we're never home before 1am when we go on a Sunday. But I'm getting old and need to function at work, so getting home late I can't do anymore on a work night.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Free Suze Orman Will and Trust Kit!

Thanks to MoneySavingMethods for posting this!

I am a HUGE fan of Suze Orman, I don't care how bad she looks in the media right now. I have, and always will be a fan of hers. Yes, she said one thing, then changed her mind....but what woman DOESN'T do that???

Typically, this is $13.95, but use the code People First and it's FREE!

Go here to access the Will and Trust form.

Scroll down and click on the Gift Code button.

Once you do that, there will be a spot to enter the code and access your free kit.

It's time to stop saying "Oh, I'll get to it eventually." Well, the time is NOW, especially that it's FREE!

Free White Castle Slider!

With Father's Day around the corner (Sunday), here's a coupon to take your father, brother, husband, etc. for a free sandwhich at White Castle!

Thanks to SwagGrabber for posting!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

May Totals

So, I did not reach my goal for April, but I set my May goal for 60%. I must say, the Super Double Dollar week at A & P got me off to a GREAT start! I didn't hit too many setbacks after that, but some of my orders were a little less than 50% so that brought my totals down a bit...did I do it? Check below to see!

Number of items: 216
Total before savings: $720.72
Store Savings: $262.55
Coupons: $199.11
Number of Q's: 119
OOP: $236.76
Total Savings: $$270.20 or 63%!!!

I DID IT! I reached my 60% goal! I'm so proud...and happy that A & P did double dollars! I wouldn't have been able to do it without it! I'm going to aim for 60% again for June. Wish me luck!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I'm Baaaaack!

Wow, it has been awhile since I posted huh? Let's see, I did awesome with the A & P super Double Dollar coupons in the beginning of May and totally stocked up on Ziploc. They were free, giving me a profit of .50 a piece, and every 3 that I bought, I got coupons for OYNO! I used ALL my ziploc coupons and got a TON of stuff for almost free! I couldn't believe it! Then I went away for work for two weeks. I only got to hound once out there, got Viamin water for .73 a piece and some Nabisco snack packs for $1 a piece (normally 2.49). I went to A & P last week, saved some $$, and I also did a big grocery order on Sunday with DH and my cousin.....I saved a little less then 50%, but we HAD to get kitty litter and DH's lunch meat and newspapers. I have money budgeted for those, but I normally do it all separate so the papers and the lunch meat don't reflect my grocery savings, since even though the lunch meat is on sale, it's not reflected on the receipt...all well. DH also got into a fight in the aisle. It's weird, he's normally the cool, calm and collected one of the relationship, and I'm the snippy, bitchy one. So here's the story:

DH goes to wait in line for his lunch meat, so my cousin and I do the shopping. DH finds us in the cereal aisle where I'm looking for the Special K that's on sale...NONE, the whole shelf is empty. Oh well. So as I'm standing back up (the Special K is on the bottom shelf), DH comes down the aisle. He has his lunch meat in one hand and a bday card for his sister in law in the other. When I saw the card (my cousin and I saw it at the same time) and we both laugh, and he's like 'What?" And I'm like 'I got the SAME card for Jess!' (Jess is sister in law). So we're talking about it, and a lady comes to the end of my cart, where my cousin is standing. I heard her mumble something, so I assumed she had said excuse me, so I moved my cart back so she can get to what she needs. So we start talking about how the card fits Jess to a tee, and the lady is shuffling boxes and boxes are falling. now, she is nowhere near my cart, so I'm not in her way, at least I didn't think she was. She we're talking or whatever, then she gets up (she was bending down) and throws a box or two into her cart. I pick little things up even when I'm in conversation with others...I guess it's in my Criminal Justice background lol. So as they walk away, passing us, she mumbles something about how rude people are. I know she's referring to me b/c she gave me a nasty look, but I let it slide. Normally, I woulda been in her face haha. So, as they walk past, the husband gives my DH a look. I too let that need to make a scene over something stupid. So, the guy gives my DH another look, to this, my DH turns and is like 'What is your problem?" oh boy, not good. So they start arguing. DH normally just walks away, but not this time. The guy starts saying that we were rude and not moving at of his wife's way. Then the wife comes back and starts walking towards my DH with her hubby. I grab my DH's shirt and I'm like 'Walk away, they must live pathetic lives if they want to start a fight in the middle of a shop rite. So the lady starts saying to me that she had asked me a few times to move so she can reach her stuff. Then she's like 'Even when all the boxes were falling, you still didn't move' I told her I wasn't even NEAR her and if she did say something, she wasn't audible b/c my cousin was standing at the end of my cart! HELLO! Then DH was like 'I saw you, YOU started pushing the boxes around and making them fall!' Then the lady was like 'Maybe if you weren't arguing with each other, you would have seen me struggling and moved out of the way!' Um, when did joking about a card and how it fits someone perfectly turn into arguing? Whatever. I finally got DH to walk away from it. My cousin was like 'She was no where near your cart after you moved when she first walked over!' And if it was that big of a deal, she should have said excuse me again. She only said it once, and that one time, it was a mumble. I assumed it was 'excuse me' since she was near my cart. It really fired up my DH. I think maybe our roles are reversing :) But seriously, there's no need to fight with someone in a Shop Rite..esp when it's the one that DH's mom works at lol

We've also been very busy with Lucky, our new kitty! Here are some pics:

That is her, doing what she does best...SLEEP!

This was her first day at her new home. DH was on the couch watching the Mets game. She jumped right on him! Guess she's a Mets fan....will have to change that to a YANKEES fan!

Guess I was a little tired and took a 'catnap' with Lucky :)

We also went to a wedding on Monday, and it was the first time we left her home alone for more then an hour. She did very well! I don't think she got up off the couch from her 'naptime' Here's a pic from the wedding:

I will be updating more often! Hope everyone is doing well!